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Of your adversities. Keep nothing from me.
What is your landlord's name?
The Count of Lara.
Prë. The Count of Lara ! O, beware that man!
Mistrust his pity,-hold no parley with him !
And rather die an outcast in the streets
Than touch his gold.
You know him, then !
As any woman may, and yet be pure.
As you would keep your name without a blemish,
Beware of him!
Alas! what can I do?
I cannot choose my friends. Each word of kindness,
Come whence it may, is welcome to the poor.
Pre. Make me your friend. A girl so young and fair
Should have no friends but those of her own sex.
What is your name?
Was given you, that you might be an angel
To her who bore you! When your infant smile
Made her home Paradise, you were her angel.
O, be an angel still! She needs that smile.
So long as you are innocent, fear nothing.
No one can harm you! I am a poor girl,
Whom chance has taken from the public streets.
I have no other shield than mine own virtue,
That is the charm which has protected me!
Amid a thousand perils, I have worn it
Here on my heart! It is my guardian angel.
Ang. [rising). I thank you for this counsel, dearest lady.
Pré. Thank me by following it.
Indeed I will.
Pre. Pray, do not go. I have much more to say.
Ang. My mother is alone. I dare not leave her.
Pre. Some other time, then, when we meet again. You must not go away with words alone.
[Gives her a purse.)
Take this. Would it were more.
I thank you, lady.
Pre. No thanks. To-morrow come to me again.
I dance to-night, ---perhaps for the last time.
But what I gain, I promise shall be yours,
If that can save you from the Count of Lara.
Ang. O, my dear lady! how shall I be grateful
For so much kindness?
I deserve no thanks.
Thank Heaven, not me.
Both Heaven and you.
Remember that you come again to-morrow.
Ang. I will. And may the blessed Virgin guard you, And all good angels.
May they guard thee, too,
And all the poor; for they have need of angels.
Now bring me, dear Dolores, my Basquiña,
My richest maja dress,—my dancing dress,
And my most precious jewels! Make me look
Fairer than night e'er saw me! I've a prize
To win this day, worthy of Preciosa !
[Enter BELTRAN CRUZADO.]
Cruz. Ave Maria !
O God! my evil genius!
What seekest thou here to-day ?
Pre. What is thy will with me?
Pre. I gave thee yesterday; I have no more.
Cruz. The gold of the Busné,*--give me his gold!
Pre. I gave the last in charity to-day.
Cruz. That is a foolish lie.
It is the truth.
Cruz. Curses upon thee! Thou art not my child!
Hast thou given gold away, and not to me!
Not to thy father? To whom, then?
Who needs it more.
No one can need it more.
Pre. Thou art not poor.
What, I, who lurk about
In dismal suburbs and unwholesome lanes ;
I, who am housed worse than the galley slave;
I, who am fed worse than the kennelled hound;
I, who am clothed in rags,-Beltran Cruzado, -
Pre. Thou hast a stout heart and strong hands.
Thou canst supply thy wants; what wouldst thou more?
Cruz. The gold of the Busné! give me his gold !
Pre. Beltran Cruzado! hear me once for all.
I speak the truth. So long as I had gold,
I gave it to thee freely, at all times,
Never denied thee; never had a wish
But to fulfil thine own. Now go in peace !
Be merciful, be patient, and, ere long,
Thou shalt have more.
* Busné is the name given by the gipsies to all who are not of their race.
And if I have it not,
Thou shalt no longer dwell here in rich chambers,
Wear silken dresses, feed on dainty food,
And live in idleness; but go with me,
Dance the Romalis in the public streets,
And wander wild again o'er field and fell;
For here we stay not long.
What! march again ?
Cruz. Ay, with all speed. I hate the crowded town!
I cannot breathe shut up within its gates!
Air,- I want air, and sunshine, and blue sky,
The feeling of the breeze upon my face,
The feeling of the turf beneath my feet,
And no walls but the far-off mountain tops.
Then I am free and strong,-once more myself,
Beltran Cruzado, Count of the Calés!*
Pre. God speed thee on thy march !-I cannot go.
Cruz. Remember who I am, and who thou art.
Be silent and obey! Yet one thing more.
Pre. [with emotion). O, I beseech thee!
If my obedience and blameless life,
If my humility and meek submission
In all things hitherto, can move in thee
One feeling of compassion; if thou art
Indeed my father, and canst trace in me
One look of her who bore me, or one tone
That doth remind thee of her, let it plead
In my behalf, who am a feeble girl,
Too feeble to resist, and do not force me
To wed that man! I am afraid of him!
I do not love him! On my knees I beg thee
To use no violence, nor do in haste
What cannot be undone!
.O child, child, child !
Thou hast betrayed thy secret, as a bird
Betrays her nest, by striving to conceal it.
I will not leave thee here in the great city
To be a grandee's mistress. Make thee ready
To go with us; and until then remember
A watchful eye is on thee.
Woe is me! I have a strange misgiving in my heart ! But that one deed of charity I'll do, Befall what may; they cannot take that from me. [Exit.
* Calés, another word for gipsies.
SCENE II.-A room in the ARCHBISHOP's palace. The ARCHB shop and a
Arch. Knowing how near it touched the public morals,
And that our age is grown corrupt and rotten
By such excesses, we have sent to Rome,
Beseeching that his Holiness would aid
In curing the gross surfeit of the time,
By seasonable stop put here in Spain
To bull-fights and lewd dances on the stage.
All this you know.
Know and approve.
That, by a mandate from his Holiness,
The first have been suppressed.
I trust for ever;
It was a cruel sport.
A. barbarous pastime,
Disgraceful to the land that calls itself
Most Catholic and Christian.
Yet the people
Murmur at this; and, if the public dances
Should be condemned upon too slight occasion,
Worse ills might follow than the ills we cure.
As Panem et Circenses was the crv
Among the Roman populace of old,
So Pan y Toros is the cry in Spain.
Hence I would act advisedly herein;
And therefore have induced your grace to see
These national dances, ere we interdict them.
[Bnter a Servant.]
Ser. The dancing-girl, and with her the musicians
Your grace was pleased to order, wait without.
Arch. Bid them come in. Now shall your eyes behold
In what angelic yet voluptuous shape
The Devil came to tempt Saint Anthony. (Baler PRECIOSA, with a mantle throron over her head. She advances slowly, in a modest,
Card. [aside). O, what a fair and ministering angel
Was lost to Heaven when this sweet woman fell!
Pre. [kneeling before the Archbisbop). I have obeyed the order
of your grace.
If I intrude upon your better hours,
I proffer this excuse, and here beseech
Your holy benediction.
May God bless thee,
And lead thee to a better life. Arise.
Card. [aside]. Her acts are modest, and her words discreet
I did not look for this! Come hither, child.
Is thy name Preciosa ?
Thus I am called.
Card. That is a Gipsy name. Who is thy father?
Pre. Beltran Cruzado, Count of the Calés.
Arch. I have a dim remembrance of that man.
He was a bold and reckless character,
A sun-burnt Ishmael !
Dost thou remember
Thy earlier days ?
Yes; by the Darro's side
My childhood passed. I can remember still
The river, and the mountains capped with snow;
The villages, where, yet a little child,
I told the traveller's fortune in the street;
The smuggler's horse, the brigand, and the shepherd,
The march across the moor; the halt at noon;
The red fire of the evening camp, that lighted
The forest where we slept; and, farther back,
As in a dream or in some former life,
Gardens and palace walls.
'Tis the Alhambra,
Under whose towers the Gipsy camp was pitched.
But the time wears; and we would see thee dance.
Pre. Your grace shall be obeyed.
(She lays aside her mantilla. The music of the cachuca is played, and the dance begins.
The ARCHBISHOP and the CARDINAL look on with gravity and an occasional frown; then make signs to each other; and, as the dance continues, become more and more pleased and excited, and at length rise from their seats, throw their caps in the air, and appland vehemently as the scene closes.)
SCENE III.-The Prado. A long avenue of trees leading to the gate of Atocha. On the
right the dome and spires of a convent. A fountain. Evening. Don Carlos and HYPOLITO meeting.
Carlos. Holá ! Good evening, Don Hypolito.
Hyp. And a good evening to my friend, Don Carlos.
Some lucky star has led my steps this way.
I was in search of you.
Command me always.
Hyp. Do you remember, in Quevedo's Dreams,
The miser who, upon the Day of Judgment,
Asks if his money-bags would rise ?
But what of that?
I am that wretched man.
Carlos. You mean to tell me yours have risen empty ?
Hyp. And amen! said my Cid Campeador.*
* A line from the ancient Poema del Cid.